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Reap the whirlwind

This morning, elected officials serving across Texas arrived at SBISD headquarters and levied a powerful indictment of the SBISD Board of Trustees for their ham-handed handling of the injunction request by Barry Abrams which would postpone our scheduled election beyond May 2022. Ham-handed is actually too polite as the board didn't handle anything at all; they just flat-out agreed to Barry's request.

Elected officials stare down the district. Image credit to KPRC.

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To restate the unbelievable plainly, the SBISD Trustees support postponing our currently scheduled May election by at least six months.

Three of the current trustees are up for re-election in May. Two of those three, Karen Peck and Pam Goodson didn't even bother to file for re-election. Yet, they want to stay onboard past the expiration of their terms in office because, and I quote, "it is not a good idea to change horses in midstream."

Please read that last paragraph again and pause if you (understandably) need to let it sink in.

We said last week we were speechless at this development. Someone out there heard that and called in the professional rhetoricians, also known as politicians. They did not disappoint at their press conference today.

KPRC News has fantastic coverage of the press conference, including video of it in its entirety. We encourage each of our readers to watch the videos linked below. Some highlights:

Texas State Board of Education member Will Hickman, in response to the trustee's lack of opposition to the to Barry Abrams injunction request said, "Well, I am opposed. I would like to vote for the trustees as scheduled this May, and I would like SBISD and the Trustees to oppose any delay".

Mr. Hickman went on to say, "All elected officials have to stand before the voters on the Ballot... our Democratic system breaks down if you don't stand before the voters." Mr. Hickman called the potential election date change "terrible precedent" before leaving the podium.

Bert Keller, former Houston City Councilman and current candidate for the Texas Legislature spoke on behalf of Harris County Commissioner Tom Ramsey, who was traveling. Mr Keller said, "[Commissioner Ramsey] is not happy about this." Mr. Keller, speaking for himself, said "This is un-American"

The legendary Harris County Commissioner Jack Cagle kept it simple with a classic turn of phrase:

"Justice delayed is justice denied"

Commissioner Cagle went on to add:

"[the current trustees] staying in office for and extra six months--unelected--is un-American, and should stop."

Greg Travis, former Houston City Councilman and current candidate for the Texas legislature spoke against this "denial of voting rights". He added that "School Board elections, to me, are some of the most important elections there are, I think we are seeing that around the country."

Mr. Travis went on to argue against SMD elections based on his experience as a councilman serving in that format.

Mano DeAyala, candidate for the Texas legislature and current appointee to the Texas Board of Criminal Justice remarked "The sanctity of this election is important" and the trustees were "sending a bad message to the public" by their actions.

In a message delivered by Mr. Hickman, Senator Paul Bettencourt said, "Delay is not appropriate here, we need to proceed with the May elections."

Representative Lacey Hull and Houston City Council Member Amy Peck were also in attendance.

Lisa Alpe, candidate for SBISD Board of Trustees, Position 5, spoke in detail on election methodology issues, saying:

"All of the research shows that At-Large districts are the highest performing districts in Texas. The research also shows that Single-Member districts generally are the lowest performing districts in our state."

Regarding postponement of the May election in which she is running, Ms. Alpe said:

"It is the ultimate irony that a lawsuit filed alleging voter disenfranchisement is now disenfranchising female candidates, a hispanic candidate, and now voters are not getting their right to vote for the current candidates."

John Perez, candidate for SBISD Board of Trustees, Position 6, said, "every voter, every candidate, everyone standing up here--we're putting it on the line. we're voicing our values, [the board is making us pay a price] by putting off the election, by denying our right to run."

Liz Franklin delivered a prepared statement on behalf of her husband Will Franklin, candidate for the Texas legislature. His statement objected to the concept that it was acceptable for elected officials to "hijack their term, and change the rules along the way to suit their own agenda." His statement added, "Elected officials should not be unilaterally extending their terms. That is the right of the people."

Save SBISD reached out to Ms. Alpe requesting further comment to her remarks at the press conference today. She added:

"The current SBISD Board has betrayed the voters of our community by siding with Virginia Elizondo’s lawyers and acquiescing to their request to delay our May election. The Board, through their attorneys, had to know that Elizondo’s request would be summarily denied by the Judge for many reasons- Elizondo will not likely prevail in the trial on the merits of her case, the request to delay was untimely because the election has already begun and the Constitution demands a really good reason. However, now that the Board has not objected to the delay, the decision is much more unpredictable. Judges prefer when both parties agree to something- it makes their job easier. Instead of being a slam dunk to deny Elizondo’s request, this is a now a jump ball."

Save SBISD was unable to find contact information for Mr. Perez on his campaign website and was unable to seek his comments.

We have now updated you on the events through noon on Feb 24, 2022. Much more happened today, but we shall have to cover that in tomorrow's update.

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KPRC's coverage of these events is available here.


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